To My Younger Self

Written by: Morgan Blair, Founder and Creative Director of Unpolished Journey.

In honor of NEDAwareness week, the team of Unpolished Journey decided to write letters to our younger selves.  After completing the letter and rereading it, I was caught off guard by how kind the words were. I wasn’t expecting the compassion and empathy I felt towards that little girl. Though I feel racked with self-loathing and critical thoughts, exercises like this help show me there is some love interwoven among the lies of my eating disorder.  So, without further ado, here is my letter to my younger self:

To my younger self,

There is so much that I want to teach you about acceptance, heartbreak, loss, and patience. I want to warn you about the trials to come – in school, in relationships, in life. I want to make you promise never to pick up the diet pills or tape measurer. I want to make you look in the mirror and say the words, “I love myself”. I want you to never, ever feel like too much.

But I know I can’t.

I can’t because those things – the trials and pain, the insecurities and illnesses – they will teach you more than any conversation ever could. Even if I could sit you down and pour a breathless monologue overtop of you, it wouldn’t do the trick. Words sometimes fail us. Especially when God knows we need our experiences to shape us.

The trials and pain are part of your journey. I wish that I could steal you away from the darkness or at least tell you the darkness won’t hurt. But I won’t lie to you. You whisper enough lies to yourself. It is going to hurt. The years ahead will be hard and stressful and confusing, but they will also be filled with some of the most fulfilling moments – moments of deep connection, true friendship, pure joy, childlike wonder.

Morgan, the road ahead is adventurous. So, as with any worthwhile adventure, there is going to be hard moments, easy moments, joyful moments, moments when you just want to quit. Never give up. That’s my greatest form of advice. No matter what you are feeling – hopeless, worthless, fat, ugly  – NEVER give up because the moments of darkness are what allow us to appreciate the light.

You have so much worth. You have so much purpose. Over the years you are going to meet so many amazing people and do so many amazing things. You’re young now. You haven’t felt the intense hunger pains. You don’t know yet how it feels to run on weak and tired legs. But as you get older, as you go through the years, you will learn so much about the power of will, the power of self, the power of faith.  You, my friend, are going to be shaped into a deeply wise woman who understands the depths this life has to offer simply because you have lived it. The ups and downs, light and dark, pain and relief- you know it. You lived it. You are living it. And that makes you one of the bravest people I have ever met.

Keep your chin up, Morgan, you have no idea what you are capable of.

With peace and blessings,

Your future self

Kelly’s #imnotsorry Story

Written by Kelly – social worker, former LUC Rambler, and fan of Unpolished Journey.

kelly

#imnotsorry I don’t wear makeup. #imnotsorry I don’t do my hair. #imnotsorry I don’t know how to contour or operate a curling iron. #imnotsorry that the last time I wore lipstick was on my wedding day – or at least the first half of the day. #imnotsorry my running pants, track jacket, sports bra, and Nike hat compile my favorite outfit. #imnotsorry I bite my nails and don’t paint them. #imnotsorry I haven’t touched hair dye in almost a decade. #imnotsorry you see my acne breakouts. #imnotsorry you see my hair wet when I go out right after showering. #imnotsorry you see my skin fade from tan to pale as winter comes. #imnotsorry you see me as I am.

I remember in middle school when I got my first stick of eyeliner. I also remember painting my eyes with it for the next 6 years. I remember spending over an hour getting ready for school in the morning and struggling to leave the house if my hair, make up, and outfit weren’t “just right.” I remember this wasn’t just a “typical” middle and high schooler thing. I remember this worry of how others viewed me creeping into all parts of my life and following me around well into adulthood and even today.

I’ll admit I still wear a little eyeliner and mascara during the week to brighten up tired eyes. Often, however, these eyes are tired from watching Hulu with my husband well past bedtime because there is always time for “just one more.” For me, spending quality time with my husband – sharing laughs, cuddles, and conversation – is more important than contouring my face in the morning for work. Running a comb through my hair after getting out of the shower is the extent of my styling abilities. I’ve made this choice because an extra half hour of sleep to charge my day of working with patients is more important than standing in my bathroom with a blow dryer. I haven’t stopped my nail-biting habit because how else do you react when the Blackhawks’ post-season arrives? My affinity for dressing for comfort over style derives from the pleasure I get in moving about my day freely and not being thrown off by the inconveniences of poking bra wires or tucked in shirts.

You see, my appearance isn’t laziness or a lack of femininity.  My appearance is intentional, comfortable, and practical. My appearance is my uniform for a life of living. Don’t get me wrong, though. I am not some superhero of self-confidence. I am often insecure and worry what others think of me. These insecurities and worries have and do contribute to hurtful self-image thoughts and actions. But much like my outsides, I strive to have my insides be just as intentional and authentic. This has required decision-making beyond the vanity mirror. I have made changes with work, hobbies, friends, family, and – most importantly – myself. Much like the curling iron, I have let go of those people, things, and thoughts that aren’t life-giving.

For me, life begets beauty – on both the outside and the inside. And for that, #imnotsorry.